Monday, September 8, 2014

Authenticity - More than a Buzzword

From 'Authentic' taste to 'Authentic' fit, the word Authentic is fast becoming overused hype.  Our cookies have authentic flavours, our clothing is described as authentic cotton, celebrities are touted to be authentic heroes, authentic athletes, actors and leaders.  The word authentic is quickly becoming so overused that it is in danger of losing all meaning or relevance.

However, as with all buzzwords, it has at its heart an important  message; that we have a desire, if not a need, for truth in our lives.  We're tired of being misled, of products being misrepresented and of people being photo-shopped beyond all reality.  We are looking for truth in advertising and truth in our relationships.  We want the people we interact with to be 'the real deal', to be what they portray.

How difficult can it be for us to be... well... us?

As it turns out, being Authentic is not easy.  We have spent an inordinate amount of our lives learning how to be what others want and expect of us.  Our personal truth does not work for all people and we therefore have learned to hide, hold back or massage our truth in an effort to fit better with the truth of others.  We have invested soheavily in trying to be all things to all people that we have lost touch with our authentic self, our personal truth.

In order to learn to be more Authentic, we must first give ourselves permission to be imperfect, to be vulnerable, to be courageous, to be worthy... just as we are. If learning to be our true selves is the goal, then we must start by believing that it is enough.  If others are not accepting of that then we need to acknowledge  the fault rests in them, not in our truth.  Our truth needn't grow to fit other's expectations of us but, rather, we need to grow enough to learn to fit our truth.

Being Authentic requires daily practice.  It requires us to be more mindful of US.  Who are we really?  What do we want?  What do we like?  What do we dislike?  What are our strengths, our weaknesses, our hopes, our dreams, our inspirations?  The more that we come to know ourselves, the more we can be ourselves.
"You must be the person you have never had the courage to be."  Paulo Coelho
In order to learn to be more authentic we need to try holding ourselves accountable to our truths.  When we find ourselves compromising on our truths we need to question 'why'.  Are we doing it on behalf of someone or something else?  How much do they/it matter to us in comparison to our truths?  If we are willing to compromise our personal truths - are they truly our truths or simply wannabe reflections of the person we think we should be, or want to be, not the true us?  Compromising our truths tells us a good deal about who we really are help us to gain greater clarity.  Sometimes, in practicing our authenticity, we gain greater insight concerning our authentic selves.

Although the word Authentic may be nothing more than a buzzword, taking the time to learn to be more authentic in our relationships and interactions with others may serve to reinforce just what made the concept so buzz-worthy in the first place.

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